Kolkata Knight Riders made an incredible attempt at an extremely tough run-chase, but when they ultimately fell two runs short, it would have been impossible for them to not think about the three lives they offered Quinton de Kock, the one player who made all the difference tonight.
de Kock got three chances, and Knight Riders paid heavily for them. First, when he was on 12 off 10, Abhijeet Tomar shelled a regulation chance at third man; then, when he was on 68 off 47, Sam Billings missed a chance behind the stumps. Finally, in the 20th over, Nitish Rana dropped de Kock on the boundary at square leg, when he was on 127 off 66.
According to ESPNcricinfo's Luck Index, the first two chances cost Knight Riders around 30 runs each, and the third one six runs. Given how close the margin was eventually, it could be argued that each of those errors cost Knight Riders the game, and a chance to still be in the tournament.
After the first chance, de Kock scored a further 128 off 60 (including the ball of which he was dropped). The Luck Index algorithm calculates that had de Kock been dismissed then, Lucknow Super Giants would have ended up with 28 fewer runs, which means Knight Riders would have been chasing 183 for victory.
After the second chance, de Kock went on a tear, scoring 72 off just 23. According to Luck Index, that chance cost 30 runs, which means had Billings taken that catch, Knight Riders would have been chasing only 181, not 211.
Surprised to see that the second chance had a higher Luck Index value than the first? Here's why.
The calculations are done assuming that de Kock would have been dismissed off the ball when he offered the chance, and the extra deliveries he faced in the innings after that chance would have gone to the other batters who didn't bat.
Since no other batter got a chance in Super Giants' innings tonight, the algorithm would have allocated those extra deliveries to the others in the line-up, in order of the strike rate of those batters. After the first chance, de Kock scored 128 off 59, at a strike rate of 216.9. The algorithm calculates that the others would have scored 100 runs off those 59 balls, at a strike rate of 169.5.
After the second chance, de Kock went into overdrive and scored his runs at a strike rate of 327.3. He faced only 22 balls after that drop, but made Knight Riders pay a huge price for that miss. According the Luck Index, the others would have scored 42, at a strike rate of 190.9.
Right at the very end, with four balls to go in the innings, Knight Riders spilled another chance, and de Kock helped himself to 13 runs off those four balls (including the delivery off which he was dropped, which went for four). Had that chance been taken, Luck Index determines that six runs would have been shaved off the final total, which could have been significant given how tight the run-chase was.
In a must-win game, Knight Riders made their task much tougher with those errors against a batter in full flight, and they eventually had to pay a huge price for it.
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats